James Vince is back in the reckoning to return for his home Test in Southampton next week as cover for his fellow England batsman Jonny Bairstow.
Both are included in a 14-man squad announced on Thursday lunchtime, as England opt for just one change – Vince replacing uncapped seamer Jamie Porter.
Bairstow’s broken left middle finger makes him a doubt for the fourth Test, as England seek to bounce back from this week’s Trent Bridge trouncing against India in a Specsavers series they still lead 2-1 with two to play.
It is understood that, even if Bairstow is passed fit, on latest medical advice he will play as a specialist batsman only – with Jos Buttler continuing behind the stumps, having taken over in Nottingham after the Yorkshireman suffered his injury mid-match.
National selector Ed Smith said: “The selection panel felt this was the right time to reintroduce James Vince to the Test squad.
“James will provide cover in case Jonny Bairstow’s fractured finger prevents him playing in the fourth Test match.”
Hampshire captain Vince, who won the last of his 13 Test caps to date in Christchurch five months ago, was dropped after a run of unconvincing form when new incumbent Smith announced his first squad against Pakistan at the start of this summer.
The 27-year-old, who has a Test average just under 25, has had a successful county championship season – and while England were struggling against India at Trent Bridge, he hit scores of 147 and 74 in Hampshire’s win over Nottinghamshire at the Ageas Bowl.
Smith added: “James returns to the England set-up in confident form and scoring runs.
“He has been in excellent form for Hampshire in the Specsavers County Championship, with 847 runs at 56.46, including runs that shaped Hampshire’s win against Nottinghamshire.
“James’ match-winning runs also helped Hampshire to win the Royal London Cup earlier this summer.”
Porter steps aside but remains on standby in case pace-bowling cover is required for a match which starts on August 30.
“Jamie Porter has been part of the last three Test squads,” said Smith.
“But the selection panel did not want him to miss the opportunity of playing for Essex in the next round of championship matches.
“He will return to the squad in the event of an injury to a seam bowler.”
England squad (v India at the Ageas Bowl): JE Root (Captain), MM Ali, JM Anderson, JM Bairstow, SCJ Broad, JC Buttler (wkt), AN Cook, SM Curran, KK Jennings, OJD Pope, AU Rashid, BA Stokes, JM Vince, CR Woakes